Belfast Telegraph

Home News UK

Wimbledon joy for Serena Williams tempered by concerns over US shootings

Wimbledon champion Serena Williams said the recent violence directed at black people in America made her fear for the safety of young family members.

Speaking after winning a seventh Wimbledon title and a record-equalling 22nd grand slam, Williams said the shootings in Dallas had done nothing to ease racial tensions.

She said: "I feel anyone in my colour in particular is of concern. I do have nephews that I'm thinking, 'Do I have to call them and tell them, don't go outside'?

"'If you get in your car, it might be the last time I see you'.

"That is something that I think is of great concern because it will be devastating. They're very good kids.

"I don't think that the answer is to continue to shoot our young black men in the United States. It's just unfortunate. Or just black people in general."

She added that "violence is not the answer" and that the situation was "painful" for her to see.

The 34-year-old beat Angelique Kerber in straight sets as pop superstar Beyonce and her husband Jay-Z watched on from her player's box.

Other famous faces who turned out to enjoy the tennis included Sir David Attenborough and Game Of Thrones star Maisie Williams.

Also in the Royal Box were actor Sir John Hurt, who recently had to pull out of a production of the play The Entertainer with Sir Kenneth Branagh after being taken to hospital with an intestinal complaint.

Those turning up to see Andy Murray play in the final on Sunday will be treated to the chance to see another Brit in action - Heather Watson.

She reached the final of the mixed doubles with her partner Finn Henri Kontinen after defeating Oliver Marach of Austria and Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko 7-6 (7/1) 6-3 to set up a final clash with Colombia's Robert Farah and Anna-Lena Groenefeld of Germany.

Saturday also saw Great Britain's Gordon Reid and Alfie Hewett win the Wimbledon wheelchair men's doubles title, taking the third set in a tie-break.

Reid, who also plays in the inaugural men's singles final on Sunday, laughed that the closing moments of their victory over French players Stephane Houdet and Nicolas Peifer were "horrible".

"We didn't like to do it the easy way there," he said, adding that the crowd had been a huge help.

While the action was taking place on court, one Murray fan was keeping his place in the queue safe.

Graeme Durno was left fighting for his life after being hit by a four-tonne van one month ago, but one day after being release from hospital he made his way to SW19.

Despite suffering from a fractured pelvis and bleed on the brain, the 54-year-old said he was determined to make the Championships even if it killed him.

Speaking from a wheelchair by his tent, and still on morphine, he said: "I told them 'even if it kills me, I'm going to Wimbledon'.

"I was ready to discharge myself two weeks ago. That is when I started saying 'look, I am going'."

World number two Murray takes on Canada's Milos Raonic in the final on Sunday, and with only ground passes available on the day, Mr Durno will watch from Henman Hill.


From Belfast Telegraph